The Heroic Minute

When I was attending a retreat with the Dominicans of St. Cecilia in Nashville this past March, Sister spoke to us about the heroic minute and its importance in their lives.


The “heroic minute” is that first moment each morning when the bell rings, requiring the sisters to get up and begin their daily prayers and prepare themselves for morning meditation in the chapel at 5:30 a.m. It’s “heroic”, because the natural impulse is the “five more minutes” impulse to stay in bed and not get up. Sister advised us each to learn to conquer the heroic minute so that we can do the work God has asked us to do each day.


Read the rest here

St. Catherine and the next pope

In iconography, St. Catherine of Siena, a lay Dominican, can often be found with a ship on her shoulder, the saint holding it steady as she looks ahead. The ship is the Barque of St. Peter–the Catholic Church–and the papal insignia is often found on the ship’s flag. Why the boat? St. Catherine is intimately connected with the papacy…

Read the rest over at Suscipio!

(FYI: I write a biweekly column for this lovely Catholic website for women! Please come join us!)

In the bedroom

So over at Suscipio we’ve been talking about Hallowed Be This House at our book club (You should come join us, really! We love to talk books.). The last chapter deals with the bedroom. Jenny covered the married couple angle, so I shall take her bait and cover the single gal angle.

My bedroom has always been important to me. When I lived at home, it was my own little universe; all my books, music, and belonging were stored there. Mom liked it to be kept fairly clean. It changed colors, from yellow (nursery), to pink (childhood), to lavender (middle school) to a minty green and robin’s egg blue combo color (post-transplant), which I loved. (I would love to paint this room, too….but alas, rental agreement…)


Now, my bedroom doesn’t have to be my library, my music room, my homework area, and the place I relax. Instead, I use it mostly for sleeping and keeping special things.

In my townhouse, my bedroom is in the back, overlooking the sort of communal “yard” space we have. So most mornings I wake up to birds singing, if it’s not raining or other wise ‘weathering.’

My bed is probably my favorite part of the room. It’s a full size bed so I have room to spread out, and there’s room for Caroline the Rabbit, as well as any books I’m reading. The nightstand has a Tiffany-style lamp bought at one of my mom’s favorite local furniture stores. At the end of the day, this is where I journal, read, and write.

Caroline the Rabbit and rosary (Yes Caroline is missing an eye. She's had a rough life.)

Caroline the Rabbit and rosary (Yes Caroline is missing an eye. She’s had a rough life.)


My dresser and nightstand I’ve had since I was about 10 years old. The nightstand holds prayer books, pens/pencils, and some journals that I’ve filled. The dresser is on its last legs, and doesn’t hold a whole lot anymore, because it can’t (or the drawers won’t open). On top I keep my jewelry box, a train case that I got at an antique store that holds extra makeup and toiletries, and my perfumes and body splashes. I put my makeup on in the bathroom. (Used to do it in my bedroom; blush makes a mess on white stain. I know this for a fact.)



The only light in the room is from the window or the lamp, so it’s a pretty low-key, quiet space. It never gets very bright. Only my alarm clock provides any sort of noise when it goes off during the workweek. I have one TV in my house, and it’s in the living room.

Near the window is a new acquisition: a side table I bought at Target. Its dark stain contrasts with the rest of the room nicely. On top are a few hardback books, a white rose in a mint julep cup (also from Target), and my cochlear implant cleaner and battery charger. The drawer holds new journals and CI supplies.


I love the journal on top--Christmas gift from my parents.

I love the journal on top–Christmas gift from my parents.

But the bottom? That has some of my favorite things: my hardcover Penguin Classics. I love having them here in my room, because they are beautiful, and they just look so nice grouped as a collection, instead of spread throughout my house. And everyone’s rooms need some Jane!

L-R: Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Emma, Persuasion, Northanger Abbey, Little Women, The Woman In White, Inferno, Les Miserables

L-R: Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Emma, Persuasion, Northanger Abbey, Little Women, The Woman In White, Inferno, Les Miserables

The trunk at the foot of my bed holds some old medical equipment (nebulizers, in case I need them, which is rare) and thick blankets for winter. I love blankets, and I love to sleep in a cold room, so I keep lots of blankets on hand.

On the wall, I keep a ribbon board with reminders of family, friends and faith.

A campaign button

A campaign button

College graduation day!

College graduation day!

BXVI on a postcard from Germany

BXVI on a postcard from Germany

An audience card from JPII's papacy (I didn't see this, but one of my besties did and she brought this back for me!)

An audience card from JPII’s papacy (I didn’t see this, but one of my besties did and she brought this back for me!)

My college ID; my first communion; my best friend's wedding

My college ID; my first communion; my best friend’s wedding

And above the new nightstand is my transplant photo.

Transplant picture

Transplant picture

Yep, that’s my surgeon, and those are my lungs in the cooler. I keep thinking the nurse is really ordering twelve large pizzas from the nearby pizza place. She’s probably talking about something less interesting but more vital to, you know, keeping me alive. On the mat are the signatures of all the people involved in my care, my two best friends, and my pastor (at the time). I want to get a crucifix for this room, too. I have one downstairs that my friends bought for me in Munich, when they were visiting Germany in 2006 (since the Pope’s former diocese was Munich, they thought it was appropriate.)

Munich Crucifix

Munich Crucifix

For me, the room is a nest. It’s the place I end and begin my day, and I want it to be quiet and calm and cozy. Sometimes the moon shines in through the window, and I love watching the sun come up over the trees in the yard. The bedposts of my bed are decorated with the rosaries I’ve had throughout my life; I can’t seem to get rid of them, not that I want to!


Some of them aren’t even mine, but ones friends have left here. They jangle when I change the sheets. I also keep a rosary under my pillow, because saying the rosary in bed is an excellent thing to do, especially when I can’t sleep.

So, that’s my bedroom, the nest/the cave, whatever you’d like to call it. 🙂

Catholic Women’s Almanac No. 21

Outside my window::

MORE SNOW. Make it stop. Please?

I’m wearing::

My PJs–a University of Pittsburgh t-shirt and Boden PJ pants with London landmarks on them.

In the CD Player::

Act II of The Phantom of the Opera, 25th anniversary recording.


Rooted in Grace; Life of Christ. Also, a lot of books are coming this week, which will include: Middlemarch, Can You Forgive Her?. Loverly: The History and Legacy of My Fair Lady; The Enchanted April; An Everlasting Meal, and Walking on Water. Yeah, that’s a lot of reading. 🙂

Listening to::

TV–when I write, I need some background noise.


I just cut a whole scene of the novel, and now I’m going back to re-write it; also thought of a slight timeline change for it, so I’ll have to edit that. Also wrote two columns for Suscipio this week!

Working out::

Back in the saddle. Workouts planned for T, W, Th and Sat. (M and F are my days off) Gotta get some yoga in there and stretch out.

Around the house::

Oh, the usual–the sweeping and the mopping and the vacuuming.


Richard III’s remains discovered (as a Brit History geek, I love this)

Things I’m doing this week::

This is a scarily clear week. So working out, writing, reading, watching movies.  (The BBC’s Tess of the D’Ubervilles is on my watch list, as is Somewhere In Time). There’s a holy hour at my parish with the Dominican sisters who teach in a nearby suburb so I’m psyched about that! Also church book sale this weekend and Lay Dominican monthly chapter meeting on Sunday. So Friday and Sunday will be busy.

Lent plans::

So far: cutting back on facebook to only Sundays and if I have something Major to Post; 4 of the Hours in the Liturgy of the Hours every day; meatless Mondays or wednesdays in addition to Fridays; getting up earlier so I can get in morning prayer before I leave for work.